The First Women's Dream Mile At Oslo Diamond League

By Kyle Merber

June 21, 2023

How big of a deal is Jakob Ingebrigtsen in Norway?

He can make the Dream Mile a Regular Ol’ 1500. And that opened the doors for the first-ever women’s Dream Mile at the Oslo Diamond League.

It’s about time the Oslo Dream Mile switched sides! The meet has hosted some women’s miles throughout history, but not with any consistency. And even then, those were just normal miles, not Dream ones. (Though the results were still often mighty impressive.. Perhaps even dream-like; the last contest being in 2016 Faith Kipyegon ran 4:18.60.) But this year was the first that the women’s event was given the distinction of being the Dream Mile.

Dismiss this distinction as “just branding,” but it does matter. The term denotes prestige and it demands respect. This is part of my ongoing mission to encourage track aficionados to lean into the things that have been established as being important!

People have long known about the Millrose Games and that winning the Wanamaker Mile – its premier event – is important. Yet it wasn’t until 2012 that the same honorific was extended to the women’s race, although in that first year it was actually called as the “Wanamaker Metric Mile.” Talk about bad branding!

The men’s race has certainly earned the Dream Mile name, as three world records have been set there and the winner has dipped under 3:50 on 23 occasions. (But if you’ll grant me a little bit of pedantry, actually, the term was first used in 1971 to describe a match-up at Franklin Field between Jim Ryun and Marty Liquori.) Those are big shoes to fill. And they’re magical shoes, evidently.

However, in just its first year, the women’s Dream Mile has already lived up to its billing. Ethiopia’s Birke Haylom is only 17 years old and even though she ran 3:57.66 for 1500m earlier this season in Rabat, running from the front with a massive gap on second, it looked like she might have been running like an inexperienced high schooler with two laps to go. As the field soon found out, she was not. Pressing through all the way to the finish line, Haylom ran 4:17.13 to set a new world U20 record.

Behind her there were seven more personal bests, including a second place finish byCory McGee for an eight second improvement on her previous mile time, a new Australian record for Jess Hull (4:18.24), and a successful introduction to the Diamond League for Nikki Hiltz (4:18.38).

Now I’m not suggesting we start tossing around the Dream [insert distance here] name all willy-nilly. Nothing would be worse than a men’s “Dream 100m” where the winning time is 10.31 and half the field pulls up with bum hamstrings. But if an event is already attracting top talent and resulting in incredible performances, I’m open to it!

For more of the top stories and analysis from the biggest stories in track and field from the past week, subscribe to The Lap Count newsletter for free. New edition every Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. ET.

Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.